St. Louis Rams 16
San Francisco 49ers 35
To say yesterdays win against the Rams was badly needed is an understatement. To say before the game that the 49ers were going to win big as they did would have been an overstatement. Nevertheless, the 49ers were running almost perfectly on all cylinders as the game was basically over at the end of the first half. First, the 49ers needed Shaun Hill to manage the game without committing turnovers and lead the offense to scoring drives. Check. Second, the 49ers needed their O-line to protect the QB and Frank Gore to allow a dynamic offense to be established making the Rams D account for the run and the pass. Check. Third, the 49ers D needed to pressure Marc Bulger with sacks to limit big plays and to cause turnovers for the offense to score. Check and check. The 49ers looked nothing like the past six games which they loss. In the first half alone the 49ers had 259 yards on offense, the D had three turnovers (2 interceptions, 1 fumble) which resulted in 21 points scored by the offense, and racked up 35 points while holding the Rams to just 3 points. This game is not at all diminished by the fact that the Rams had the same record as the 49ers and are having a bad year as well. Remember the Seahawks game couple weeks back? They had only one win and the 49ers had already beaten them earlier in the year only to suffer an embarrassing loss.
The 49ers offense and defense have found their way…at least for this week. The next couple weeks will continue to test the 49ers as they have four of the last six games on the road with three of the teams, Cowboys, Bills, and the Dolphins, fighting for playoff spots. Mike Singletary needs to implement the success against the Rams into the remaining games. On offense this includes continuing to make Vernon Davis a heavy part of the attack. Even though Davis only had one catch which was a TD, he has shown he is effective in the short passing game which when Hill is at his strongest. Could you imagine what will happen when Davis has a two or three TD game? His last two catches have been for TD’s and each time he looked like he had just made the winning TD catch in the Super Bowl. The O-line finally came out of their shell and protected Hill very well allowing him to make plays. Gore also benefitted from the line’s great blocking as he had 106 yards rushing with two TD’s.
In the last six losses it was not so much a factor that the offense didn’t score but that the defense could not stop the other team from scoring or get them off of the field. The defensive line and the LB’s constantly put pressure on Bulger resulting in four sacks. The pressure also led to turnovers resulting in scores. The 49ers continued with a good game on D well into the second half of a game that was over by the end of the first half. Yes, this was a Rams team still looking to find their way this season and who were without their biggest offensive threat in Stephen Jackson. Even so, a win this big against a long hated division rival is huge. The 49ers have to carry over the success to next week against Dallas to prove this was not a one game fluke.
Next Week: @ Dallas Cowboys (6-4)
Tough match-up on the road. The Cowboys seemed to have found their way back into playoff talk with Tony Romo returning from injury and beating the Redskins yesterday. The Cowboys will not take the 49ers lightly however the 49ers have a chance to pull off a win with their new found confidence on offense and defense.